Top 5 things to do on a rainy day in Auckland
Auckland is a natural wonderland in summer, with endless things to do and places to see – but what happens when it rains?
One thing is for sure: Auckland never stops. Even when it rains, there are plenty of things to do and places to visit, so if you face this situation, take it as a great opportunity to add in some indoor activities to your itinerary!
Here are our top five favourite things to do in the City of Sails when it rains.
The Auckland Museum
The Auckland Museum was New Zealand’s first museum, and is arguably the most beautiful, too. It’s home to an array of history, including both New Zealand’s war heritage as well as our Maori and Pacific collections.
Naturally, our favourite collection at the museum is ‘Thomas Cheeseman’s Window into Auckland’s biological past’. It’s a “library of Auckland bird and plant life”, and shows both the loss and the efforts for conservation in some of our most special species.
A day tour from Auckland
Just because there’s a little rain, it doesn’t mean the beautiful scenery just out of Auckland city is no longer worth visiting. The wonderful birdlife, vibrant plantlife, and calming beaches are still out there, waiting to be discovered, so all you need to do is throw on some wet-weather gear and come out with us.
Book any day tour from Auckland and you’ll be amazed at how much you will still love the scenery out of the city.
Shopping on Queen St
Queen Street – the main street through the centre of the CBD – is something of an attraction in itself in Auckland. It’s dotted with shops, cafes, and souvenir stores, and is always thriving with a huge variety of people from all over New Zealand and the world.
And the best thing is that almost all of it is covered by shop awnings, so you can easily flit from shop to shop and pick up some souvenirs, or simply grab a bite to eat, without having to deal with the weather.
Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium
Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium is one of Auckland’s biggest attractions, with more than 30 live animal exhibits in stunning habitats, as well as the biggest Antarctic penguin colony exhibit in the world.
It’s all completely underground, so the only chance you have of getting wet if is you decide to do the Shark Dive or Shark Cage experience!
Here’s a tip: Grab your tickets online for a small discount on your entrance fee!
Visit the Sky Tower
The Sky Tower is one of New Zealand’s most iconic buildings, and it dominates the city’s skyline – you’ll even possibly see it as you fly in to Auckland.
Take a trip to the top of this massive tower for a 360-degree view of the city and beyond from 220 metres in the air. You’ll be able to see roughly 80 kilometres in each direction, and you might even be able to pick out some new destinations (such as the local volcanoes, or even Devonport) to visit as soon as the weather clears up.
Why are there no large predators in NZ?
When we talk about predators in terms of the New Zealand environment, we don’t often mean the same kinds of predators you’d find in most countries overseas.
That’s because New Zealand simply never had any large predators, and the only main ones we have now are those that were introduced with the arrival of man, such as possums and stoats.
So why did we skip the boat on tigers, bears, and other large predators?
New Zealand separated from Gondwanaland an estimated 80 million years ago, which means it has spent a significant amount of time as an isolated island. During this time, the flora and fauna on the land evolved away from other regions in isolation.
This all happened around the time of the great mass extinction, according to NZ website Science Learn, which eradicated a massive number of species and wiped out the dinosaurs completely. After this event, large mammals and predators were able to thrive without the dinosaurs, yet for some unknown reason, New Zealand didn’t go through the same process.
As we did not have many mammals at the time, the species that grew were insects, plantlife, and birds.
The lack of natural predators in New Zealand is a large part of why the country has become one of so many birds – especially flightless ones. Without larger animals to eradicate these vulnerable bird species long ago, they were able to thrive in a natural sanctuary void of threats. It’s why we still have so many wonderful species today.
You can see the result of this evolutionary process on any Auckland day tour as we visit natural habitats around the city to spot endemic birds such as the kiwi, and trees such as the kauri.
Habitat Tours' bird of the month: The Morepork
The morepork is an incredibly special bird to us here at Habitat Tours. Not only do we often see them flitting through the trees during our night-time tours to Tawharanui, but they are also New Zealand’s only surviving native owl.
Fortunately, the morepork is currently classified as not threatened, and you can find them in many places around New Zealand in forests and on offshore islands. The only places you won’t typically find them is in the large open areas around Canterbury and Otago in the South Islands.
The Maori name for the morepork is the ruru, which is a nod to its distinct, haunting calls. Additionally, the ruru is enshrouded in Maori myth, where it is said that this bird originated from the underworld. In fact, it is believed that ancestral spirits can take the form of a ruru, and act as a guardian (or kaitiaki) who protects, warns and advises its descendants. As well as this, it’s also believed that if a ruru enters the home or sits near it, there will be a death in the family.
A night-dweller, the morepork sleeps during the days and spends its nights hunting. It can turn its head through 270 degrees, and has acute hearing, sharp talons and a powerful beak, making for a formidable predator. The morepork will generally eat bugs such as beetles and caterpillars, as well as small birds, rats and mice.
Another fact that makes this bird a stealthy hunter is the same one that can make them hard to find during tours – they are incredibly quiet during flight. They have soft fringes on their feather edges, which means they can sneak up on prey virtually undetected, so we have to be extra vigilant by trying to spot one, because it’s unlikely we would ever hear it coming!
Tristan Cullen - Passionate Conservationist